BOOK REVIEW: Lisa Shatsky’s “Blame It on the Moon”

A lovely review has been written by Bernice Lever, a poet and freelance editor on Bowen Island, BC. The review is expected to be published in David Fraser’s Ascents magazine. Read on….

            “Blame It on the Moon”, Lisa Shatzky’s second book, if an exploration of her many philosophical questions about her personal and human life in general. Her first book, “Don’t Call Me by My Name”, 2011, was often in the voices of her First Nations and other teens clients from her psychotherapy work. But this new volume is not a teenage voice asking ‘Who am?’ and ‘Where am I going’; instead these are dramatic, mid-life musings that probe with lyrical beauty and honest intelligence all that matters.
Her opening poem, “Suppose” is a mystical story of 2 hours on a stalled elevator with a mix of passengers, posing a scene for either mayhem or grace. Her lilting couplets and fresh images delight the reader with how shared creativity enriches our mundane lives with compassion. She describes the one thing: “we felt brave enough to do that day// and no one wanted to be rescued, not yet, not yet…   Again in the “Violin Player”, she shows how music fires our passions as she concludes: “In the stunned silence//that fills the room when the last note dies,//your life is in his hands.” Lisa’s three opening quotes from Rilke, Jung and St. Thomas, whet one’s quest of finding. developing and using one’s talents to their potential for one’s own and others’ benefits.
Several tender poems are about love lost and another love found as noted in “Letters” with “…reinventing ourselves//out of the loneliness we are born with.//As if we sense the light singing//beyond the cave is within reach.”  Then in “Touch’, she writes of moon lit circles: “… impossible iridescent circles//to get lost in//so we no longer know//where we begin or where we end.” Her lists of everyday things move from the stone in one’s throat to the magical “whispers of the longing of elephants” and “silence of tree frogs”. Her poems sing of relationships in many guises as mates, as mother, as child, with goldfish, butterfly, lavender and cat images threading their way to our understanding.
There are honest poems about her mid life choices in “ Another life”, “Blame It on the Moon” and others revealing the joys of life balancing against the losses. She has wry remarks about reactions from others in this small town, atoning her actions, recklessness of passion. There is much quiet laughter when listeners respond to her readings of this poems.
Poets, other writers too, will be drawn to “Where Poems Come From” and  “Tell Me Something” as she balances the hunger of audiences with her imagination’s wealth. Lisa’s answers vary from “some lost spark// from a falling star” ‘’‘anything is possible “until you spill coffee on your white shirt// as you jump back into the fray”
Lisa Shatzky has written an intriguing and inspiring poetry  book to read in short bursts inter-mixed with longer spells of pondering to feed one’s own questions.

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